George “Geohot” Hotz, the hacker who is currently in a legal battle with Sony over his role in hacking the PlayStation 3, says he cannot turn over his computer hard drives, despite a court order to do so, because he is in South America.
In a court filing, obtained by VGHQ, concerning an ongoing jurisdictional argument – in which Sony asserts that the case should be heard in California, where it is based, with Hotz contesting that it be heard in his home state of New Jersey – Sony claims Hotz has failed to hand over hardware relating to his jailbreak, and is using his whereabouts as an excuse not to do so.
The filing reads: “After Magistrate Judge Spero ordered an inspection of Hotz’s devices and ordered Hotz to appear at a deposition in California, SCEA learned that Hotz had deliberately removed integral components of his impounded hard drives prior to delivering them to a third party neutral and that Hotz is now in South America, an excuse for why he will not immediately provide the components of his hard drives as requested."
While stopping short of accusing Hotz of fleeing the country or being obstructive, Sony’s legal team said: “Hotz’s attempts to dodge this Court’s authority raise very serious questions.”
Sony continues its attack on Hotz’s integrity by claiming that he has lied about not owning a PlayStation Network account. This is a key component to Sony’s jurisdictional argument, saying that acceptance of PSN’s terms of service constitutes an agreement with SCEA in California.
It claims that one of four PS3s in Hotz’s possession, which he says he purchased in February of last year, was used to register a PSN account last March, from an IP address in Glen Rock, New Jersey, where Hotz resides. However, Groklaw points out that the PSN signup process at the time did not require users to explicitly agree to the terms of service.
Hotz maintains that his jailbreak was not specifically targeted at, or distributed to, any entity or person in California, and also argues that it should not be SCEA, but Sony Japan, manufacturers of the PS3, that should be suing him.